Mayfair’s Luxury Hub

04/06/2010

“…I don’t want to go to heaven, I want to go to Claridge’s.”
Spencer Tracy

I will make any excuse to go to Claridge’s. Walking through the polished marble foyer ignites the imagination and energises even the weariest soul. It is not surprising that this is the home-away-from home for many of London’s elite visitors and is perceived by many to be the natural choice for visiting royalty and heads of state (when not staying at Buckingham Palace). More egalitarian elite include such recent guests as Marc Jacobs, who was in town to launch the new (and magnificent) Louis Vuitton Maison on Bond Street last week.

Thierry Despont re-interpreted the foyer’s interior to create a new perspective on ’30’s luxury back in 1996. Over a decade later the space could not look more timeless. His vision must have been massively enriched and inspired by such exquisite antique fixtures as the Lalique light fittings to the right and left as you enter from the revolving door.  However such rich heritage did not constrain him from commissioning the American glass artist Dale Chihuly, of whom I am a fan, to create a new chandelier for the central seating area which has to be seen to be believed. Each element of the design is hand-blown and the whole is assembled piece by piece. (For another more freely accessible and impressive example, head over to the V&A where the Main Entrance Dome is home to a chandelier of similar but more massively proportioned manufacture.)

Upstairs, the private interiors are just as sumptuous if not more so because they can be enjoyed on a more domestic (if uber-luxe) scale. Some time ago the hotel invited David Linley and the team at his eponymous furniture atelier to design a series of rooms and suites in the Deco style. The result is an inspiring lesson in interiors which don’t just look glamorous but feel calm, comfortable and enveloping.  The restrained, elegant furniture and neutral palette foil the show-stopping extravagance of art-deco inspired light fittings and huge light-bouncing mirrors as well as the most sensational and sensuously rich fabrics.

Linley’s furniture can be bought retail from his two shops; Pimlico Road and Mayfair. They can also be commissioned to create your heart’s desire be it a beautifully framed mirror or an entire panelled room. I particularly love the Max chair (pictured) for its deco-inspired proportions and utterly chic lines which would look very much at home in a Claridge’s suite. This furniture is absolutely top end and the prices reflect the craftsmanship and expertise which goes into making each piece (a max chair starts at £1,025 if you supply your own fabric, and goes up to £2,125 upholstered in Linley leather). But one should not simply take cost as a measure of value. With a bit of attention every decade or so this chair will last a lifetime.

The latest news from my favourite hostelry is that they have invited veteran fashionista Diane von Furstenberg to bring her flair for pattern and colour to a new series of rooms. I can’t wait.

Claridge’s
Brook Street, London W1
www.claridges.co.uk

David Linley
Pimlico Road and Mayfair stores
www.davidlinley.com

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One Response to “Mayfair’s Luxury Hub”

  1. Hugh Wright Says:

    As usual Mr Client I couldn’t agree more, Claridge’s really is the ne plus ultra of luxury in its most real sense of delivering things that money can’t buy. I’m thinking of the welcome one receives in the bar, being chatted to as an old friend while perched on one of the red leather stools; the sense of perfect calm taking tea in the foyer; the absolute discretion of the doormen who see one out into the night (or indeed, the morning..!) safe in the knowledge that one’s exploits will never go any further.

    While other hotels may rival Claridge’s for fashionability, or modernity, or cuisine, it truly is unbeatable for luxury!


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